Not Sure of Where to Cut? Editor Walter Murch Says the Answer May Be in the Eyes

Knowing where to cut requires experience, intuition, and, frankly, a lot of trial and error.

However, Oscar-winning editor Walter Murch has a theory that might help the next time you're unsure of where to make an edit, that a human blink reads as "emotional punctuation" on-screen and could potentially serve well as transitions between shots. Editor Sven Pape puts Murch's theory to the test in this episode of This Guy Edits.

A lot can be learned from studying the eye movements in a scene. As Pape says in the video, a blink can be translated as the end of a character's thought or as a transition from one thought to another—which is basically what an edit is.

And now that you've seen this technique in action, it might be impossible to watch a film and not notice all the blinking going on. But keep in mind that this doesn't mean that a blink is always going to be the catalyst for an edit, but it does mean that they are kind of built-in edit points that can give you a good idea of where an edit could potentially be made.

Do you use Walter Murch's technique when you edit?     

Your Comment


Alarm bells sound when the guy introducing his editing tutorial can't edit himself properly

May 24, 2016 at 3:46AM

You voted '-1'.

Get Murch's book, In The Blink of an Eye. Its a quick read, and gives some really great advice and historical context for editing.

May 25, 2016 at 12:56PM

Nathan Taylor
Jack of all trades, master of none